Light Your House for Safety

Outdoor and indoor lighting is not only an easy and inexpensive way to make your home and yard come alive after dark, it's also a great way to scare off burglars!

Night burglars work in the dark because they don't want to risk being seen by neighbours or anyone passing by. Well-placed outdoor lights will not only keep your visitors from stumbling over the dog, but will also illuminate hiding places and points of entry to your property.

Safety lighting doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. The newest indoor/outdoor security lighting systems on the market are generally low-cost and often easy to install by the do-it-yourselfer. There are a variety of options to choose from:

photoelectric cells that automatically turn lights on at dark and off at dawn;
motion detector floodlights;
low-voltage lighting systems; and
solar-powered lights that need no wiring at all (although these tend to be more expensive).
Motion detectors, photo cells, timers Safety lighting relies, to a great extent, on automatic controls. The most common types include:
motion detectors - good for monitoring specific areas. These switch lights on when someone walks by.
photo cells - excellent when you want lights on all night. These turn light fixtures on when an area gets dark, then switches them back off when light returns.
timers - ideal when you want to control lighting for specific periods of time. These turn lights on and off at pre-set intervals and can be used with other electronic devices such as radios and televisions.
Outdoor safety lighting
Most homes require several types of fixtures and controllers to light up a variety of exterior areas. Key areas include the garage and driveway, all entrances, walkways and any windows hidden by shrubs and bushes.

Walkways - A border of low-voltage landscape lights is best. Working off a transformer that reduces household electricity to 12V or 24V, these are energy efficient and safe to use. Look for models and fixtures that have ground stakes and are made of strong, weather-resistant plastic.

Entrances - Lights activated by motion sensors are your best bet here. Some motion sensors, however, are so sensitive they trip the switch when leaves or small animals go past them. Look for models with adjustable motion sensitivity and manual override so the light can be activated from a standard wall switch.

Back yards, hidden areas - High intensity, motion sensing floodlights are a great way to frighten off intruders hiding in the back yard or along the sides of your house. Mounting one on the garage will also light the driveway for you at night. Look for an adjustable model where you can set the amount of time the light stays on after motion stops.

Indoor safety lighting

Safety lighting plays an important role inside as well as outside the home. Well-traveled hallways and entrances are the key areas to focus on. Motion-sensing switches will turn lights on when you enter a room or pass through these areas. Look for wall-mounted sensor light switches that can control both incandescent and fluorescent fixtures, and can be used manually or automatically.

To provide dim lighting in dark areas like hallways and bathrooms, use small, plug-in night lights with photo cells and/or manual controls. These are economical and easy to mount. Some will even continue to operate for a limited period of time after a power failure.

Some lighting tips

Avoid creating a "runway" effect on walkways by installing lights opposite each other. Most walks only require a few fixtures on one side. lf placing them on both sides, try staggering them.
When lighting a curve, place fixtures on the inside. You'll use fewer and the effect will be more dramatic.
Select fixtures that direct light where you want it. Along a walkway, for example, light should be directed to the ground.
Wait until dark to test your system. This is the best time to see if you like the proposed placement.
Aim a floodlight at a plant or other yard feature to turn it into a focal point.
Place a light behind a planter or other feature to make it stand out from its surroundings.
Install a short light fixture that directs light upwards through the branches of a tree or bush, or at the foot of a garden statue.
Create a moonlight effect by attaching a fixture high on a tree so that it casts light downward through the branches.




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